Big guns set for Champion clash
Two former champion hurdlers are set to clash at Leopardstown on Sunday, with Hurricane Fly and Binocular amongst six remaining possible runners in the BHP Irish Champion Hurdle.
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The Willie Mullins-trained Hurricane Fly is going for a hat-trick in Ireland's feature hurdle race and has looked right back to his best this season in winning the Morgiana and the Istabraq Festival Hurdle.
"He's in great shape. Looking at him coming off the gallops on Monday morning he's fit and ready," Mullins told At The Races. "Hopefully then we'll just count down to Sunday."
Mullins could also run Thousand Stars, a top-class horse in his own right who often adopts front-running tactics in these races having proven his stamina over further. Stablemate Zaidpour is also still in the mix.
Nicky Henderson's Binocular has won 11 of his 20 races over hurdles but has not been seen since finishing fourth to Rock On Ruby at Cheltenham in March.
He is set to travel to Ireland, rather than stay closer to home for the rearranged StanJames.com Champion Hurdle Trial at Doncaster, where the meeting is in some doubt.
"The plan at the minute is that he'll go to Ireland," said owner JP McManus' racing manager Frank Berry.
"Everybody seems very happy with him and we're looking forward to a good run at Leopardstown."
Eddie Harty's Captain Cee Bee, also owned by McManus, and Oliver Brady's One Cool Shabra complete the select list.